Eleanor Hildebrandt | August 20, 2021
Environmental activists gathered in Des Moines to demand Iowa’s largest energy company to stop using its coal plants in the next decade on Wednesday.
Protesters from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Iowa Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign gathered outside the MidAmerican Energy headquarters with signs. They also asked MidAmerican Energy to invest funds in retrofitting Iowa homes to improve energy efficiency. The demonstrators want the company to focus on the homes of families of color and low-income housing.
The group chanted “people over profit” inside the headquarters building. The demonstration remained peaceful, regardless of security asking the group to vacate the premises.
MidAmerican Energy currently runs five coal energy plants across the state. Two plants are in Sioux City while Ottumwa, Muscatine, and Council Bluffs all have only one. The Sierra Club estimated the plants have cost customers nearly $25.7 million in the last five years. The protestors want the plants retired by 2030.
Geoff Greenwood, a spokesperson for the company, told Iowa Public Radio the company is striving to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. He did not specify a timeline of when MidAmerican plans to hit net-zero. The company has decreased its carbon dioxide emissions by 58 percent since 2005.